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Worth-the-Effort Games: The Stack of Shame

Pete K
United States
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Microbadge: Level 02 BGG posterMicrobadge: Chihuahua loverMicrobadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level II - If I have seen further, it's only by standing on the apex of other's dice.Microbadge: Milwaukee School of EngineeringMicrobadge: I love trick-taking games
The previous post was my list of favorite games that, for one or more reasons, require significant effort to get played. These were the principal obstacles that I identified:

d10-1 each session has a prescribed set-up
-- as opposed to the set-up being the same, or very similar, for every session. Wargames with scenarios fit this category.

d10-2 each session has a randomized set-up
-- this usually means un-randomizing components or cards at the end

d10-3 daunting learning curve
-- a large set of strange icons, or multiple sets of rules, can discourage casual players. Casual players are by far the most common sort of players.

d10-4 variable player roles
-- asymmetric rules can have a large overhead, especially when players switch roles mid-game or between games

Whether or not a particular game is "high effort" is a judgement that requires a standard. Is a game more effort to set up and/or teach than Puerto Rico?

Like many, I have a rather large stack of unplayed games in my collection. This seems inevitable, since the more I'm in this hobby, the more I tend to concentrate on a particular subgenre or designer at any given time. The past few years, it's been trick-taking card games: they provide marvelous variety with a small amount of components, and reward experience handsomely. But really, it's the perceived effort in getting new, unfamiliar games to the table that keeps them unplayed.

So here are my Worth-the-Effort? games I need to start playing in 2022:

American Civil War games
Almost without exception, light wargames are more effort than Puerto Rico.

Hold the Line: The American Civil War
I need to sticker the blocks and learn the Hold the Line rules, but this is supposed to be a good light wargame.

A House Divided
I have the Phalanx edition, but have not broken it out yet. It's not supposed to be too complicated, but it is a wargame.

Classic Reiner Knizia games
These are big-box designs of his, which have been in the queue for far too long. I might be wrong about Babylonia, but all of these appear to be more work than Puerto Rico.

Tigris and Euphrates
Taj Mahal

Classic "OG" games
Being older Euros, these might lack the slick how-to video coverage that every newly published game seems to get these days. But beyond that, they might not actually be all that much work.

Auf Achse
I'll have to print out the English rulebook, as this one came over from amazon.de

In the Shadow of the Emperor
It's certainly ... yellow. I thrifted this some years back, and hopefully it will reward the effort needed to learn how it operates.

Trick-Taking games
My threshold for "high-effort" trick-takers is the excellent game Sheepshead, which does require players to pick up different suit rank-orders, point values of cards and rules allowing hidden partnerships. It's not that bad to learn (I wrote a long review on BGG, if that helps), but it does take a bit of practice to play competently. So, this year I'm planning on tackling games with this sort of complexity, or at least with some counterintuitive twists.

Le Plateau
French Tarot
I think these two can be considered good entry points into Tarot/Tarock games.

A newer Stefan Dorra game that is coming from amazon.de sometime next month. I believe there will be some translating involved, before getting this to the table.

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
This rather counter-intuitive game is notoriously hard to get, but I just imported a copy from amazon.de. Probably a lot less rules overhead than Sheepshead to be honest, but I plan on sinking my writer's eyeteeth into the thematic content at some point. I also have the 2-player Jekyll vs. Hyde, so that should be fun comparison someday.

This is not a new-to-me game for 2022, but I'm not at all satisfied with how well I've learned it so far. It's a priority to get in a lot more games of it throughout the year.

This climbing card game has actually been in my collection longer than any on the list, and I even lost track of it for a few years. I definitely owe it some attention, now that I've tried out so many other card games over the past few years.

Anyway, if you found this post because of the games mentioned, my apologies. But it is January so these kind of elaborate promises are to be expected, perhaps.
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